Sneak Peek inside Columbus' New Ice Rink

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus' new ice rink is regulation size, surrounded by unbreakable and smudge-proof glass, and has a state of the art sound system.  WTVM News Leader Nine got a sneak peek inside as workers continue to build.

The venue can hold 3,000 people. Millions of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax dollars were spent to build it.

Civic Center Operations Manager Brian Giffin has been with the project since the ground breaking.  He expects the facility to make life easier for people in Columbus and the Civic Center staff.  "We do a lot of turnovers at night.  Going back from ice to basketball floors to staging to ice.  With this, if we have a couple of shows, we can send all the ice activities over here and not disrupt their program," explained Giffin.

Others are saying the rink will enhance the life of people in Columbus by giving residents in the Valley another thing to do.

New programs are being developed. Youth and adult hockey will be housed at the new rink. The Civic Center has been approached about offering figure skating, curling, and a few college hockey teams want to use the ice.

After 18 years at the Civic Center, Director Dale Hester is retiring at the end of the month.  Along with the new rink, Hester says he is most proud of the diversity of entertainment that has been brought to Columbus. "My reward is during the event.  Walking out during the event and looking at people and seeing their faces, their smiles and clapping.  I'll miss it.  But, this place will survive. It will grow and grow.  I am really looking forward to bringing my grandchildren," said Hester.

The rink is set to be completed in April of 2011.

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